India has thousands and thousands of temples, big and small, to many deities. But Pushkar, a little town near Ajmer in Rajasthan, is the only place in the world where there’s a temple to Lord Brahma, the creator. Isn’t that unusual? […]
In 1931, two British mountaineers, Frank S Smythe and R I Holdsworth, were returning from a trek up Mount Kamet in the Himalayas, when they lost their way and suddenly came upon an amazing sight – a valley carpeted with flowers of many colours! Frank Smythe was so fascinated that he returned some years later, and wrote a book about the place. He called it the Valley of Flowers, and that’s how it’s known even today. […]
The Bahá’í Temple in Delhi is quite different from other places of worship in India. It is shaped like a lotus flower. Passages from sacred texts of all religions decorate its walls. Everyone is welcome to come in and pray, no matter what faiths they follow. […]
The Indian cobra is a very poisonous snake found in the sub-continent. It lives not only in India, but also in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and parts of Afghanistan.
Cobras are easy to recognize because when they are angry or scared, they raise themselves up and blow out their ribs to form a ‘hood’. There is a ‘V’ pattern on the Indian cobra’s hood, something like a pair of spectacles, because of which it is also known as the ‘spectacled cobra’. […]
Patterns drawn on the ground outside front doors are a common sight in India. They are called kolam in south India and rangoli in north India, though they are known by some other names too. These patterns may be simple or complicated, drawn in white or with colours.
The tradition of drawing kolams dates back about 5000 years. There are several reasons why these patterns are drawn. Broadly speaking, they have a religious purpose, and a decorative one. […]
Puppets are popular all over the world. They are not just children’s toys. Older people enjoy them too. In many parts of India, different types of puppets are used to tell stories. Andhra Pradesh is famous for a special type of puppets. They are made of leather. Shows using these puppets are known as Tholu bommalata. […]
According to the ancient Indian epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, the region south of the Vindhya mountains was once thickly forested, and ruled by the Vannars. Van means forest, and nar man in Sanskrit. So Vannar could mean forest men or monkey men. In the Ramayana, the Vannars, and their kingdom, Kishkinda, play a very important role. […]
When you think of camels, you always think of deserts too, don’t you? After all, the camel is known as the ‘ship of the desert’. But not all camels live only in deserts. There is a special breed of camel which can swim in the sea! It is found only in one place in the world – Gujarat. […]
The Dal Lake is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Srinagar, the summer capital of the northern-most State of India – Jammu and Kashmir.
It has a shoreline of around 15 km. It’s not just one water body, but several inter-linked ones. It has islands as well as ‘floating gardens’. These gardens are known as Rad in the local language. They are not attached to the lake bottom but float on the water. They are very fertile, and vegetables and fruits are cultivated on them. […]
Bidar is a little town in the southern Indian State of Karnataka. It is famous for a special type of metal craft known as Bidri – taking its name from the town itself.
Bidri art is a technique of making designs in silver in a base of a mixture of metals like zinc and copper, which combine to become black in colour. The silver patterns gleam and glow against the black background. The technique is used to make vases, wall plates, jewellery boxes, and other handicraft items. […]
Bindis are dots placed on the forehead, just above the space between the eyebrows. The majority of Indian women wear bindis. The word bindi comes from bindu, which means dot in Sanskrit. They are also called pottu or bottu in south India. Traditionally, bindis are red in colour. […]
The normally green slopes of the Nilgiris in south India turn bluish-purple once in 12 years, when the Neelakurinji shrubs blossom. Many plants have flowers throughout the year, some have them once a year. But Neelakurniji flowers come out only every 12 years, all the shrubs blooming together. In fact, the name Nilgiris – meaning Blue Mountains in Tamil – came from the Neelakurinji. […]
The Ramayana has an exciting story about how Lord Rama managed to cross the sea from India to reach the island of Lanka. He wanted to get there to rescue his wife Sita who had been kidnapped by the Demon King Ravana. The story goes that 10 million monkeys, supervised by the monkey architect-engineer Nala, built a bridge from the tip of India to Lanka. They used huge trees, rocks and other material and built it in five days. […]
Darjeeling is a popular hill station in West Bengal, perched in the foothills of the Himalayas. One of its chief attractions is the Toy Train. The train isn’t a ‘toy’, like the ones in Malls. It is called a ‘Toy Train’ because it runs on a very narrow track, and so the engine and coaches are much smaller than those of regular trains. […]
Zardosi is a Persian word. ‘Zar’ means gold, and ‘dosi’ is work. It’s the name given to a particular type of embroidery which is believed to have been popular even in ancient India.
It was originally done with thin silver and gold wires, using special needles. Pearls, precious stones, sequins and beads were strung on the wires to make the work even grander. […]
Much is known about India’s cultural and historic legacy and also about its beautiful landscapes, but in the last few decade, India is also coming into its own as a destination for adventure tours and fun activities. One such exciting adventure is the yak safari-s that are available in Gangtok, Sikkim. You can take a safari around the lovely waters of the Tsomgo Lake and enjoy the beauty around you while seated on a yak that is bedecked with ornaments and woolen knits. Going on a safari gives one the opportunity to explore the land, its fauna and flora in their natural states and India offers many such exciting adventures to travelers.